Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl Invades Manhattan, Makes Service Cloud More Social is New York this week for its Cloudforce 2011 event tomorrow, and it has come armed with some news: An update to its Service Cloud customer service application that will give companies better tools to pay attention to how people talk about them on Facebook and Twitter and other social media sites.

It’s called Service Cloud 3, and–as the name suggests–it’s a cloud-based way to keep track of customer service complaints.

Kevin Smith’s diatribe against Southwest Air on Twitter is a good example. But, there’s also countless Web forums, discussion boards and blogs to follow as well.

No company wants to be on the wrong side of a customer complaint spreading at retweet speed.

Agents can work from any mobile device, including the iPad 2, as well as a new app in the Salesforce AppExchange from Radian6, a social media monitoring platform.

Salesforce already has 15,000 customers using Service Cloud, including KLM Dutch Airlines, Ally Bank and Nikon.

This is just one part of Salesforce’s New York visit, which comes at a relatively bullish time for the company.

Its stock more than doubled from $70 to more than $150 a share over the last year, before heading south for a cooling off period. It closed at $128.32 Wednesday.

When it reported earnings last week, Salesforce said its sales would be in the range of $480 million to $482 million, topping the estimates of analysts who reckoned sales would be closer to $470 million.

But not everyone is applauding. The Wall Street Journal’s Brett Arends raised some interesting questions about Salesforce, especially in how it is spending its cash, in a column last week, including $278 million for land to build a new campus?

And how about that $212 million for Heroku?

In fact, John Dillon, a former Salesforce CEO himself, said the company paid way too much for Heroku, a hosted service for building applications written in Ruby on Rails, the open-source Web-development language.

What does current Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff think of all this? Check back later, since I will be talking to him Thursday afternoon about this and more.